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Giving and receiving comments on blogs

One of the defining features of a blog is the ability for readers to react and join in the conversation. Rather than the writer pontificating from on-high, there’s the ability to back-and-forth. For the majority of blogs, this means commenting.

You can look upon commenting in two ways: as a means to connect with people by starting or joining a conversation, or as a means to generate more traffic to your blog (the extreme of this being comment spam).
For most of us, the motivation to comment is somewhere on a spectrum between the two. It is natural to want to comment on other people’s blogs, but there is no denying it also offers an opportunity to attract visits back to your own blog.
Your blogging action plan should include some time for visiting other blogs and leaving good comments. Start by going to Technorati, or Google Blog Search, and look for blogs in your area of interest. If you don’t have time for regular ‘blog research’ then at least keep your eyes open for any potential blogging buddies. Once you start finding blogs you enjoy, subscribe to them in a feed reader and read them regularly to keep up to date.
When you feel moved to do so, leave a comment. Being a good social citizen means helping people out and giving without asking for anything in return. A good comment will add value to the original post. In the blogosphere, leaving good comments will certainly make you friends and it will do your reputation oodles of good.
Some bloggers set themselves a weekly or monthly target for commenting, ensuring that they keep visiting other blogs and leaving comments on a regular basis. Regular commenting on blogs you enjoy won’t feel like a chore, but it is advisable to set aside an amount of time and stick to it, because your first duty is to your own blog and to producing great content for it.

What is a ‘good comment’?

  • Appropriate for the type of blog.
  • On-topic, relevant. Not just ‘Thanks, great post!’ or ‘w00t!’
  • Not necessarily very long, just longer than one sentence.
  • Accompanied by your name and photo (in other words, not anonymous).
  • Polite and respectful.
  • Part of the conversation, acknowledging other comments already made.

Commenting etiquette

  • If you leave a thoughtful comment, or a question, do go back again, because there may be further comments addressed to you. You can do this by checking ‘notify me of follow-up comments’ or subscribing to the comments feed. ‘Drive-by’ commenting, particularly when anonymous, can look as if you’re not really interested in conversing.
  • It goes without saying that you should use appropriate language and don’t get sucked into ‘flame wars’ (online arguments).
  • If you are the blogger responding to various people’s comments, it is polite but not obligatory to acknowledge each contribution with a reply of some kind. If someone leaves a really great comment, you could thank them publicly, for example on Twitter (with a link to the comment), or even ask them if they would like to write a guest post.

Blogging for Creatives is Robin Houghton’s step-by-step guide to everything you need to know about how to design and profit from a beautiful blog that people will want to return to again and again. With advice on which blogging platform to choose, essential tools and accessories, and how to take your blog to the next level, whether you’re looking to create a platform for your creative trade, an inspirational journal, or a hub for people with similar tastes and interests, learn how to benefit from being part of the blogosphere in this accessible, non-techie book.

Blogging for Creatives by Robin HoughtonBlogging for Creatives
Robin Houghton

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RRP for print edition: £12.99